I know I just blogged about this book in May, but I just finished reading it aloud to my class, and I have to say something about it again because it has been such a marvelous experience! This book is even better the second time, and amazing when read aloud. Reading it a second time, I noticed so many amazing connections, delightful descriptions, and loved the amazing suspense. I had my Gr. 3's eating out of the palm of my hand. They seemed to really love the story and got totally caught up in it. Today we had about six chapters left. I had our reading schedule mapped out so that we would finish it by the end of the year, and barely have enough time to watch the movie. Today we totally wrecked our schedule. Again and again, the kids begged me to keep reading. How could I not indulge them?! We finished the whole book...spent the entire afternoon reading, laughing, discussing, and reading some more. It was amazing!
It was interesting to me to notice the kids who didn't always follow along in the book. I read it all aloud to them and tried to use the best expression I could. My poorer readers would often sit and just watch me. They were firmly fixed and listened carefully. It's funny because I would always prefer to follow along in the book (I have sometimes even been known to follow along in a book when listening to an audio book...just another one of my weird quirks), but they really leaned towards putting the book down and soaking it all in just by listening. Kids are amazing listeners sometimes.
Just a few funny stories:
Like I said, I tried really hard to read it well and use a lot of expression. I sometimes would mix up the voice though. I was reading along this afternoon when one of the kids stopped me and said, "Mrs. Ackroyd could you read that again the way you had the guy talking before?" It took me a bit to get back into that voice....but I think I finally did. They loved it. It was the voice for the constable who goes with the man in the yellow suit to rescue Winnie from the Tuck family. He kind of sounds like a bumbling idiot who talks to much and doesn't think enough.
While we were talking about the constable it was mentioned that he talked a lot and wasn't very smart. One of the girls put up her hand and said, "But I talk a lot. Talking a lot doesn't always mean you're not very smart, does it?" LOL
I found out that three (well, the there who admitted it!) snuck the book home and read the whole thing on their own. No wonder they were making such accurate predictions! How can I get after them for that?! It's kind of like when I have to give my kids heck because they're reading at the dinner table. It is a lovely problem to have.
In one scene, the main characters are in their home, when suddenly a knock comes on the door. It's a tense scene and my kids were feeling it. One boy suddenly jumped out his chair and blurted out: "Mrs. Ackroyd, it's like they were all just sitting around having a lovely discussion - then the knock, and they're like, "Who the hell is that??! No one has knocked on our door in 86 years?!"
I just about fell off my chair, hearing this kid blurt out his "who the hell is that?" The school's tech guy was in my classroom at the time and he just giggled and giggled.
The funny thing was the other kids hardly batted an eye. And frankly, the kid was right on the money with his description of what the characters must have been thinking. However, later in the chapter, when one of the characters called another stupid, they were totally up in arms over such offensive words in our story!
It was a delight to read this book with my class. It made me wish we could do more novel studies. I wonder if I could find a way to squish more of that into our school lives, next year?! Hmmmm.....I think I can! :)